Sunday, June 8, 2008


Dimensions: 90” wide, 54” high, 28” deep

Materials: African Mozambique

Date: Made for show in 1978; subsequent commissions executed

Description: A rocking lounge chair/sculpture carved from solid, African Mozambique. The combination of scale, sensuous curves and negative space give the chair the power and grace of the Greek Goddess of Love. Staggered, laminated joinery and hidden, metal reinforcement are engineered to replicate the strength of steel yet retain the beauty and feel of natural wood.
Thoughts on my work: The curving line is beautiful because it has grace, motion and power. It abstracts the essence of a classical ballet or a moving musical composition. It soothes like the ebb and flow of waves or the rush of water in a stream. It captures the universal magic of femininity.


Dimensions: Dimensions: 22” wide, 30” high, 24” deep

Materials: African Mozambique

Date: Completed for show in 1971; subsequent commissions executed

Description: Chair/sculpture laminated and carved in Mozambique. The sculpture connects the pedestal, seat, and arm in one uninterrupted line, resulting in a sweeping, graceful arc reminiscent of the classic pose of a victorious bullfighter.
Thoughts on my work: Sculpture has three dimensions. My work has a fourth: the sensation of touch, and yet a fifth: the pleasure of use. If an object is conceived as a piece of sculpture, but feels good and also has a function, it is a richer experience for both maker and user.

Swahili II

Dimensions: 94” wide, 26” high, 32” deep

Materials: African Mozambique exterior, White Birch interior

Date: Completed in 1990 as a private commission

Description: Cabinet/sculpture with 4” thick doors and sides carved in solid Mozambique. Interior fitments include trays for bottles and glasses, pull-outs for stereo and television units as well as drawers for CD storage.
Thoughts on my work: I enjoy the entire process of working with wood - from the idea of its origins in the living tree, through the excitement of bringing color and figure to the surface in carving; to the satiny feel of a wooden surface which is finely sanded and finished. I could achieve the same results in form in other media, and some would present less structural limitations, but I would miss the complex satisfactions of this natural material.

Satan's Tongue

Dimensions: 17” high, 48” wide, 24” deep

Materials: African Padouk

Date: Completed for show in 1982. Subsequent commissions executed

Description: Coffee table laminated and carved from solid Padouk

Michael Coffey at Work

Perception II

Dimensions: 27” wide, 54” high

Materials: African Mozambique

Date: Completed in 1980 for show; subsequent commission executed

Description: Mirror laminated and carved in solid Mozambique


Dimensions: Face: 22” wide, 13” high (above rest); Pedestal: 20” wide, 16” deep; Overall height: 48”

Materials: White Oak

Date: Completed for show in 1982; subsequent commissions executed

Description: Dictionary stand, lectern or pulpit laminated and carved from solid White Oak. Two halves of face are joined with dovetails.

Heron I Foyer Table

Dimensions: 58” wide, 39” high, 17” deep

Materials: American Black Walnut

Date: Completed in 1985 for a private client. Subsequent commissions executed

Description: Laminated and carved from solid Walnut. One main drawer, upper left; secret drawer behind. The unit is attached to the wall by hidden bolts. The single leg rests on the floor.
Thoughts on my work: I find the symmetry of most furniture boring. Symmetry lacks drama and adventure. Basically our preference for symmetry has to do with our intuitive need for balance, our physical and psychological adaptation to gravity. Asymmetry and imbalance are exciting because they challenge our basic sense of order and security. They suggest defiance of gravity, risk, daring, skill and mastery over superior forces.

Touch and Go

Dimensions: Dimensions: 96” wide, 84” high, 18” deep

Materials: African Mozambique wood

Date: Completed for show in 1992

Description: The union of two cabinets and a connecting sculpture carved out of Mozambique place this work squarely in the no-man’s land between functional furniture and non-functional art. The cabinet doors open to display interior drawers and shelves suitable for stereo or buffet use. The sinuous, dramatic form which connects them seems to balance on one toe, as if poised for flight. Hidden wall mounts complete the engineering of a massive piece of furniture which conveys lightness and delicacy.

Saturday, June 7, 2008


Dimensions: Individual units are as follows:

1) Bar (left side of photo),
"Allegro" carving motif, 36" wide, 16" high, 16” deep;

2) General purpose cabinet (center of photo), "Crescendo” carving motif, 36" wide, 42" high, 12" deep;

3) Desk (right side of photo), "Counterpoint" carving motif, 42" wide, 14” high, 14" deep;

4) Shelves, each carved in a different motif, measure 16", 20", 36" and 42" wide, all 4" high and 12" deep.

Materials: African Mozambique and White Oak

Date: Completed for show in 1977; subsequent commissions executed.

Description: Wall system consisting of modular combinations of wall-hung cabinets and shelves. Individually mounted, the units can be grouped in any arrangement on a wall and can be combined with paintings, sculpture or other objects or decorations. Dovetail cabinet construction. All units are carved on the front and both sides.

Whale of a Bar

Dimensions: 128" (10'–8") wide, 98" (8'-2") high, 78" (6'–2") deep

Materials: Mahogany wood and veneer, Corian, electrical components

Date: Completed in 1994 as a commission for a private client

Description: A bar and serving center built into the architecture of the clients’ home, the unit consists of four major components:

1) a Corian-surfaced cabinet (against exterior wall) containing a refrigerator and wet sink. The cabinet also has utility drawers and compartments;

2) a Corian-surfaced serving bar extending into the room. Below the Corian top and accessed from the rear, the bar component houses lighted compartments and sliding trays for bottles, glasses and wine storage. Concealed skirt lights located under the bar create an illusion of floating. Interior fans to dispel heat build-up complete the electric system;

3) a carved wall panel (above sink); and

4) a connecting unit (on the right side), both non-functional, complete the assembly which breaks down for transportation. All units except the sink cabinet are laminated and carved from solid Mahogany.
Thoughts on my work: In using furniture as an artistic medium I am sometimes constricted by the necessary dimensions or functional requirements of a particular piece. However, I consider these an additional challenge rather than a limitation. I like the engineering of things that work. I find it a doubly rewarding accomplishment to solve both the artistic and technical problems in a single object.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Resume of Michael Coffey, Sculptor

Michael Coffey
141 Old Stage Road
W. Hatfield, Massachusetts 01088
Tel.: 413-247-3119

Experience and qualifications summary

Furniture-making and sculpture
· Designed and produced one-of-a-kind furniture and sculpture since 1967
· Executed over 200 commissions for private and corporate clients, institutions, galleries and designers during this period
· Exhibited in over 100 shows in galleries, museums and craft expositions
· Served as a juror judging show entries for several major art and craft exhibitions

Teaching and school administration
· Organized and administered two woodworking schools functioning over a total period of 8 years · Provided one-on-one training for over 20 furniture-making apprentices in one to two year sessions
· Conducted numerous workshops for woodworkers illustrating my work and offering training in my techniques

Community organization and political action
· Worked as a professional community organizer from 1950 – 1961 in Mexico and various urban settings in the United States
· Served as a volunteer organizer and political activist in my own community in Massachusetts from 1997, working on problems of community planning and land conservation

Administration, grant-writing and program development
· Served as executive director of a community action program in Stamford, Connecticut funded in 1966 by the Office of Economic Opportunity.
· Worked from 1961 to 1972 as a community action consultant to various neighborhoods in New York City and towns in Massachusetts, helping them to raise funds and set up programs in housing, job training and education
· Wrote and received grants to set up a program to train and place laid off workers with architectural woodworking firms

Avocational interests and skills
· Foreign languages: studied eight languages, reaching fluency in two: Spanish and Russian
· Building trades: learned carpentry, electrical work, plumbing and masonry in the course of renovating four personal residences and building one new one.
· Archaeology: took a course in archaeology at the University of Massachusetts in 2001 and participated in a 2 month archaeological dig in Russia in 2002

Education and work history

1950 Bachelor of Arts, New York University - Major: Psychology
1953 Master of Social Science Administration, School of Applied Social Sciences, Western Reserve University - Major: Group Work

Work experience
1950-51 Volunteer Community Organizer, American Friends Service Committee, Xochimilco, Mexico
1953-55 Psychiatric Social Work Technician, United States Army, Fort Lewis, Washington
1955-57 Group Worker, Norfolk House Centre, Roxbury, Massachusetts
1957-59 Community Organizer, Hudson Guild, New York, N.Y. Responsible for stimulating participation by Spanish-speaking residents in a broader community council
1959-61 Community Organizer, New York Community Council. Set up a demonstration program of citizen participation in New York City’s first, full-scale, urban renewal area.
1961-64 Community Action Consultant, Citizens Housing and Planning Council, New York, N.Y. Advised neighborhood citizens groups on housing and planning problems.
1964-65 Community Action Consultant, Basic Systems Inc. New York, N.Y. Provided technical assistance to various Massachusetts communities, helping them to develop anti-poverty programs with funds from the Office of Economic Opportunity.
1965-66 Executive Director, Committee on Training and Employment, Stamford, Connecticut. Wrote grants and received funds from the Office of Economic Opportunity to set up programs in job training, education and social welfare.
1966-72 Community Action Consultant, Strycker’s Bay Community Action Project New York, N.Y. Provided technical assistance to a project funded by the Office of Economic Opportunity designed to train low income people to set up their own neighborhood service centers.
1967 - Furniture-maker and sculptor. Working in my own studios in Vermont, New Hampshire, New York and Massachusetts and employing up to 4 employees and apprentices, produced original furniture and sculpture of my own design for exhibition or by commission.
1976-82 Teacher and school administrator, Poultney, Vermont. Founded, operated and acted as principal teacher in the Michael Coffey School of Fine Woodworking, a two year, full-time, professional training program in furniture-making for up to 6 students. .
1981-93 Teacher/lecturer Ran workshops for woodworkers illustrating and teaching my style and techniques of furniture construction in Dartmouth College, the Worcester Craft Center, Leeds Design Workshops, Peters Valley Craft Center, the Brookfield Craft Center and the Woodworking Shows.
1994-96 Founder and Director, One Cottage Street School of Fine Woodworking (now The New England School of Architectural Woodworking), Easthampton, Mass. Working with the Division of Continuing Education at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst , organized a curriculum of evening classes and week-end workshops in a variety of woodworking subjects for the public. With funding from the Hampden County Training and Employment Consortium, developed a full-time, 9 month training and job placement program in architectural woodworking for laid off workers from other industries.
1992-98 Part-time Community Organizer, Lutheran Child and Family Services and the New American Russian Speaking Association, Springfield, Mass. Worked with Russian-speaking immigrants on problems of housing and job training.
1998 - Volunteer Community Organizer in Hatfield, Mass.
· Member, Hatfield Master Plan Committee
· Co-organizer, the 5&10 Coalition, a citizens group spanning two towns, mobilized to stop the construction of a local Home Depot branch
· Co-founder and Hatfield delegate to the Greater Mill River Coalition, a quasi-public organization, dedicated to planning and promotion of land conservation over a 5 town area
· Founder and current chair of the Hatfield Open Space Committee, set up to write a state-mandated Open Space Plan for the town and to follow up its recommendations.


Christie's 20th Century Art & Decorative Design, New York, NY - 2005-06
Sotheby's, Important 20th Century Design, New York, NY - 2003-06
Rago Arts and Auction Center, Lambertsville, NJ - 2002-07
Philadelphia Furniture Show, Philadelphia, PA - 1995-96
Crafts Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA - 1993
Crafts Park Avenue, The Armory, New York, NY - 1992-95
Fitchburg Art Museum, Fitchburg, MA - 1991
ACC Craft Fair, Baltimore, MD - 1989-93
American Craft at the Armory, New York, NY - 1987-91
Stratton Arts Festival, Stratton, VT 1979, 1983-84
ACC Craft Fair, W. Springfield, MA - 1984-90
Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington, DE - 1976, 1983
Northeast Craft Fair at Rhinebeck, NY - 1976-83
Bennington Art Museum, Bennington, VT - 1982
Columbia Museum of Art, Columbia, SC - 1982
St. Louis Art Museum, St. Louis, MO - 1982
Schenectady Museum, Schenectady, NY - 1982
Brockton Art Museum, Brockton, MA - 1981
League of New Hampshire Craftsmen, Manchester, NH - 1978, 1981
Museum of Fine Arts, Springfield, MA - 1981
Cooper Hewitt Museum, New York, NY - 1980
Philadelphia Craft Show, Philadelphia, PA - 1980
International Craft Show, Coliseum, New York, NY - 1979
Museum of Contemporary Crafts, New York, NY - 1979
Newport Art Association, Newport, RI - 1979
J. M. Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, WI - 1978
Marietta College Crafts National, Marietta, OH - 1975-78
Designer Craftsmen Guild, Fort Wayne, IN - 1976
Artist Craftsmen of New York, NY - 1967–74
American Crafts Council, New York, NY - 1972-73
Worcester Craft Center, Worcester, MA - 1972-73
University Art Gallery, SUNY at Binghamton, NY - 1971
Stamford Museum, Stamford, CT - 1970

Gallery affiliations

America House, New York, NY
Brookfield Craft Center, Brookfield, CT
Carlyn Gallery, New York, NY
Clark Gallery, Lincoln, MA
Cooper & French, New port, RI
The Craftsman’s Gallery, Scarsdale, NY
Creative Arts Workshop, New Haven, CT
Del Mano Gallery, Pasadena, CA
Detroit Gallery of Contemporary Crafts, Detroit, MI
The Elements, New York, NY
Frog Hollow Craft Center, Middlebury, VT
Gallery 10, New York, NY
Hawkins House, Bennington, VT
Kaleidoscope, Hanover, NH
Kornbluth Gallery, Fairlawn, NJ
Lee Nordness Gallery, New York, NY
The Makers Gallery, New York, NY
Mendelson Gallery, Washington Depot, CT
Pritam & Eames, East Hampton, NY
Salmon Falls Gallery, Shelburne Falls, MA
Sign of the Swan, Philadelphia, PA
Signature Gallery, Chestnut Hill, MA
Skera Gallery, Northampton, MA
Society of Arts & Crafts, Boston, MA
Tennyson Gallery, Provincetown, MA
Todd Merrill Antiques, New York, NY
Verbena Gallery, New York, NY
Westlake Gallery, White Plains, NY
Wit Gallery, Lenox, MA


Union News, Springfield, Mass. June 1987 - Article on my work: “Capturing Organic Forms”, Aranow
The Advocate Summer Guide, Sept. 1986 - Review of show, Tennyson Gallery, Provincetown, MA
Newsday, Sept. 1983 - Review of show, Pritam & Eames, East Hampton, NY.
Antiques & Collectibles, Jan. 1983 - Article: “The Chippendales of Our Time” by Susan Heymann House & Garden, Feb. 1983 - Article: “Can Craft be Art?” by Lee Hall
New York Times, Dec. 1982 - Review of show, Kornbluth Gallery, Fairlawn, NJ.
The Star-Ledger, Feb. 1982 - Review of show, Kornbluth Gallery, Fairlawn, NJ
Interior Design, Apr. 1982 - Review of show, Gallery 10, New York, NY
New York Times, Feb. 1982 - Review of show, Kornbluth Gallery, Fairlawn, NJ
New England, Nov. 1981 - Review of show, Brockton Art Museum, Brockton, MA
New York Times, Sept. 1981 - Review of show, The Elements, New York, NY.
Stratton Magazine, Fall 1981 - Review of show, Stratton Arts Festival, Stratton, VT
The Rutland Herald, Sept. 1981 - Review of show, Stratton Arts Festival, Stratton, VT “Woodworking the New Wave”, 1981 - Article on my work by Donna Meilach
AIA Journal, Nov. 1980 - Review of show, American Craft Museum, New York, NY
Westchester Weekend, Oct. 1980 - Review of show, Westlake Gallery, White Plains, NY
“20th Century Furniture”, Garner 1980 - Article: “Seventies Craft Revival/United States”
House Beautiful, Summer 1979 - Review of show, American Craft Museum, New York, NY
American Craft, June 1979 - Review of show, American Craft Museum, New York, NY
Cue, May-June 1979 - Review of show, American Craft Museum, New York, NY
Newsday, May 1979 - Review of show, American Craft Museum, New York, NY
New York Times, May 1979 - Review of show, American Craft Museum, New York, NY
New York Times, Apr. 1979 - Review of show, Craftsman’s Gallery, Scarsdale, NY
Westchester Weekend, Nov. 1978 - Review of show, Westlake Gallery, White Plains, NY
American Craft, Jun. 1978 - Review of show, J.M. Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, WI
The Designer, Mar. 1978 - Article on my work: “The Artisan Approach”
AIA Journal, Oct. 1974 - Review of show, Domus Locus, New York, NY
House & Garden, Fall 1974 - Review of show, Domus Locus, New York, NY
Worcester Sunday Telegram, Jan. 1974 - Review of show, Worcester Craft Center, Worcester, MA
The Designer, Jan. 1974 - Review of show, Domus Locus, New York, NY
New York Times, Oct. 1973 - Review of show, Domus Locus, New York, NY